Inclusion & Camper Success
Every child should experience the magic of summer camp
MJCCA Day Camps is fully inclusive and strives to provide the opportunity for children with all needs to participate in our camp programs. Our Inclusion and Chaverim Campers even have their own dedicated space at camp, complete with air conditioning, to help cool down and unwind between activities. Being in the Inclusion program at the MJCCA offers beneficial support for your child’s summer. Whether it be a 1:1 facilitation experience, or simply support and accommodations from our Inclusion Director, we are here to make your child feel comfortable and able to enjoy their camp experience.
Our Inclusion & Camper Success Team leads activities each day to help our campers’ mental and emotional health, like painting kindness rocks, learning how to comfort friends, and making bubble wands to relieve anxiety. Through a Yedid Nefesh grant from the Foundation for Jewish Camp to support mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health, this team is here to ensure all our campers thrive in our camp environment!
Rising Pre-K–7th Graders
Our Inclusion Program allows campers with special needs to participate in the same camps as their typical peers. We offer a range of support, from breaks and medical assistance, to 1:1 facilitation, to ensure campers have an incredible summer. We will work with your family and evaluate your child’s current placement to determine if a facilitator is needed. Spaces will fill quickly, so be sure to secure your child’s spot when registration opens in January.
Rising 7th–12th Graders with Special Needs
Our Chaverim program includes staff experienced in working with children with special needs, a low camper-to-staff ratio, and access to our camp activities. Each week will be a new small group cohort of campers.
As part of their curriculum, Chaverim campers have an amazing time running the camp Shuk, modeled after an Israeli marketplace. Younger campers exchange shekels (coins) for goodies like entertaining toys and delicious snacks. Shopping helps strengthen decision-making and social skills for campers. For our Chaverim campers, the Shuk fosters independence, helps improve communication skills, increases pride, offers responsibility, and gives them the chance to chat with fellow campers.
Please Note: A minimum number of campers enrolled in this program is required.
Before registering for the Inclusion Program or Teen Chaverim, parents of new campers must contact an contact an Inclusion & Camp Success Team Director to learn about our application process. We will work with your family and evaluate your child’s current placement to best determine if a facilitator is needed. Spaces will fill quickly, so be sure to secure your child’s spot when registration opens in January.
A: Inclusion provides the opportunity for children with special needs to attend camp with their typically developing peers. ALL of the MJCCA Day Camp options are part of the Inclusion Program, however, camp staff works closely with families to ensure the camps chosen will be a good fit. The MJCCA’s mission is to provide a safe and fun camp experience. We are NOT a therapeutic program and are not equipped to provide therapy, track behaviors, or collect data.
A: Our goal is to include all campers. In order to best assess if a child is a good fit for our program, we ask families to participate in an intake process. If a child is aggressive, a threat to themselves or others, or, even with extra support from our staff, cannot participate in our program safely, MJCCA Day Camps may not be a good fit for them.
A: Many campers benefit from additional support in order to have the most successful experience. Our Inclusion Director will work with you to determine if a facilitator will be beneficial and available for your child. We do not assume that all children with special needs require a facilitator. If it is determined that your child will benefit from additional staff support, the level of support will be specifically catered to the needs of your child. Our goal is to fully integrate your child into the camp program. We observe each child in the Inclusion Program throughout the summer and communicate with counselors and parents to help ensure success and make modifications when needed. Parents will incur an additional fee per week for the facilitator, for one-on-one facilitation.
A: While our facilitators are specifically hired to work with children with special needs, they are not therapists. Ideally, they are college students studying special education, OT, PT, or a related field. Additional training is provided and required for all facilitators. Like all MJCCA Day Camps staff, they will participate in an application, interview, and background check process.
A: Yes, your child is welcome to attend before and/or after camp care. However, we ask you to keep in mind that the camp day is long and will provide many different demands of your child. We need to ensure that participation in any extended day program is appropriate. We can arrange for an inclusion counselor to attend before/after camp care with you child for a nominal additional fee.
A: Yes, your child is welcome to ride the bus. Many Inclusion campers ride the bus to and from camp each day. Although we do have a good number of staff on each bus, we cannot guarantee a facilitator will be on your child’s bus route. Specific accommodations for the bus can be discussed with the Inclusion Director.
A: We will work with you and your child to be as proactive as possible through program accommodations, positive behavioral management strategies, and redirection. Behavior challenges will be documented and shared with the parent. If your child exhibits aggressive behavior that is harmful to staff, other campers, or themselves, your child may need to be picked up immediately, suspended, or terminated from the program. We will work with a child as much as possible to ensure a successful experience.
A: Our facilitators and staff are not allowed to change a child’s diaper. If your child is not potty trained, they may attend camp with a facilitator you provide who is comfortable changing them if needed.
A: If you have any questions or would like to discuss your child before registering, please contact Sarah Koenig, Director, Blonder Family Department for Special Needs, at 678.812.3886 or firstname.lastname@example.org. When registering for camp, there is a place on the online registration to indicate that you are interested in the Inclusion Program. You will then be contacted to begin the camp inclusion intake process.